Thursday, April 30, 2009

Every once in a while you get gum in your hair

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if your peanut butter is crunchy or creamy.

One example is when you get gum in your hair.

It’s true, some things matter and others don’t, but figuring that out is a tricky proposition.

On Tuesday my friends and I went to the Clermont Lounge for Karaoke.  It’s an infamous location, and like most nights seedy and memorable were in perfect harmony.

One of the hosts, named Oslo, sang his part of Johnny Cash’s ‘Jackson’ flawlessly, as a lanky white stripper struggled to sing hers. All the while a hefty black dancer named Blue was doing the robot behind them.

People were having a good time, and I was taking it all in.

With the aid of a few unnecessarily large tips most of my friends managed to get on stage, and as last call was being announced three of my friends were on stage singing ‘Take me home tonight,’ by Eddie Money. (if you play the below video, I guarantee the song will be stuck in your head.)

It seemed like I had an undefeatable smile, as my friends were experiencing the overwhelming maximum fun that we know as karaoke.

Seconds later my attention was focused on a wet glob of gum stuck that someone had thrown into my hair. Angry, slightly drunk, and frustrated that I wasn’t focusing on my friends’ performance I tried to gather myself.

I could start a scene. Or I could let it go, walk home and apply peanut butter.

I can’t imagine the this person's intentions. I’m a social-setting chameleon, and I was wearing the least flashy of my western style snap up shirts. I hadn't said anything derogatory, and had tipped the bartenders well.

I glanced around with a pathetically disappointed look, hoping to instill guilt in the perpetrators heart. I’m not sure what I wanted other than a confrontation and an apology. The thought of getting on stage, taking the mic, and figuring out who did it crossed my mind. I’ve been in zero fights, but I wasn’t worried about that. People that throw gum aren’t good fighters.

Unemployed me getting in a barroom fight at the Clermont would be a treasured story for decades, but sadly drunken altercations aren’t my M.O. (which my brother recently told me stands for modus operandi).

Instead, I fruitlessly picked at the gum, and when everyone got off stage asked if they were ready to go.

Walking home I did my best to forget about it, and was relieved to see peanut butter sitting in my cabinet when we arrived. A few minutes later the situation was over, and I was peacefully sleeping.

I was wrong when I said that it doesn’t matter if you use crunchy or smooth peanut butter. If you use crunchy, you’re left with a bunch of peanuts in your shower.

Some things matter, and some don’t.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

C'est la vie AIG

With minimal regret, I must report that I’ve been laid off at AIG.

I lasted physically for two years, two months, and five days. I had been absent mentally since November, when the first round of layoffs was announced.

My suspicions concerning unemployment were confirmed in Amsterdam. I was checking my email in the hotel lobby, which allowed marijuana smoke, but not the cigarette variety.

My pot tolerance is admittedly low, but the consistent thick haze was enough to give a veteran a contact high. With my mind functioning at 58% I first considered the most recent life-changing news.

The ‘upset’ emotion wasn’t evoked. Instead, I dreaded walking back into the office and saying goodbye to everyone. I didn’t want to deal with the overly firm handshakes or the unlikely ‘keep in touch’s.’ I didn’t want to fill a cardboard box with items that I will never go through. And I certainly didn’t want to face the prospect that I might not be able to figure something else out, and I could end up in an eerily similar cubicle a month later.

I walked outside for some fresh air, and was greeted by the insoluble mix that is the Red Light District and daylight. The long shadows of night weren’t there to cover the urine stained walls, and the florescent lights were pathetic beneath a clear blue sky.

I felt bad for the stocky middle-aged day shifters that inhabited the booths, as well as the bargain hunting clients they successfully seduced. In that moment my future was put in perspective. I will not grant myself a second of self-pity.

C'est la vie to my 12 square feet of blandly carpeted space, the 52 mile roundtrip commute, and Excel spreadsheets that that need to go beyond the 70,000 row limit.

And hello to who knows what.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Popsicles - a lifelong pursuit

I made my first popsicle today.

Maybe I should clarify. I froze a number of substances in mouthwash-sized paper cups for the first time today.

I wasn’t alone. A fruitful trip to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market with my friend John yielded $70+ dollars of produce. My brother, and business associate, joined us shortly thereafter for a soon-to-be rewarding trial creation session.

With the information provided above, it might sound strange that my brother and I intend to open a popsicle (or paleta) store in the next two months.

I don’t know if it is unfounded confidence, or untainted genius, but I think I can successfully run a profitable business.

It’s been a brotherly discussion for a couple years now, and if it doesn’t happen and I find myself back in Corporate America, I won’t have enough stories to earn the label of “one of the most interesting white guys on the floor.”

So I look at it as an investment.

Upcoming blogs:

1. European adventures
2. Popsicle taste test
3. Status of "cubicle"